5 Luxury Gifts For Men

We all love a little luxury. High quality, upmarket and indulgent, a luxury gift is perfect for the man (or woman) who has everything. However, what luxury gift do you actually buy that special man in your life, be it a husband, a partner, a son, or a brother? Maybe it's a very special birthday, an anniversary or a wedding gift. Or maybe it's a graduation, retirement or new business celebration. If you need some inspiration check out my 5 luxury gifts for men that have everything below. This is an advertorial.

Quality Cufflinks

Cufflinks are a great keepsake for graduation or when starting a new job. Adding that classic touch to a crisp white shirt or a fashionable edge to a shirt and suit combination, cufflinks are a practical and useful gift as well. These cufflinks above by luxury brand Longmire are made of 18ct white gold and are carefully hand enamelled. The blue weave design is understated but the silver dots and crimped edge adds a style statement.

Luxury Brand Watch

A popular gift for the man who had everything is a luxury watch from a high-end brand like Omega, Breitling or Patek Phillip. The Omega Seamaster is water-resistant up to 1000 feet, more than some nuclear submarines and has added status being worn by James Bond. The Breitling Navitimer has features aimed at pilots with its flight-specific slide rule bezel which allows pilots to calculate things like average speed, fuel consumption and climbing speeds. While Patek Phillipe watches are super high-end made with the highest level of expertise in Geneva.

High-tech Road Bike

If they are really into cycling or are starting to take it very seriously, a high-tech road bike could be the gift they would love. Obviously, some research here will go far and you need to know the man pretty well to find out what bike he would be interested in without giving the surprise away, but what a gift! Bikes like this can run into thousands of pounds but if it's a real passion then it will be the ultimate gift for them.

Thrilling Flying Lessons

Flying lessons are a luxury gift that keeps on giving, and who knows, when they pass their private pilot's exams they may take you on a flight somewhere exciting. There are many small airports around the UK when you can take flying lessons in a helicopter or small aeroplane and with prices from £45 its a luxury gift that is surprisingly affordable too. If you are feeling generous a set of lessons can be the inspiration your loved one needs to take it further and before you know it you may have ignited a real passion for flying.

Exciting Supercar Day

If the person you are buying the gift for is an adrenaline junkie then what about a supercar day? With the need for speed mixed with driving luxury, most men would love a day racing cars. Choose from a Lamborghini, Ferrari or Aston Martin racing day on a racing circuit, or what about a Formula Renault car, a simple version of a Formula One car for that luxury gift for all the thrill lovers out there. One thing is for sure, it is certainly a memorable gift that they will never forget.

So here are my 5 luxury gifts for men. Whether you are looking for a keepsake, something practical, something to treasure for eternity or a memorable experience I hope you have found some inspiration with my ideas for luxury gifts.


The Variety of Coffee Flavours and How to Understand Them

Coffee is one of the most complex beverages in terms of aroma and flavour – scientists are counting hundreds of flavour compounds found in roasted coffees, making it especially flavourful and intriguing to taste. For easier flavour navigation, SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) has created the Coffee Taster's Flavour Wheel – a descriptive diagram showing the variety of taste profiles coffee can have. It helps pinpoint the exact notes and guides the tasters when trying to understand their coffee. However you may wonder, how do those hundreds of flavours develop, what growing and natural conditions do they require, and what defines the notes and how we taste them brewed in a cup of coffee? Find the answers in this article below.

Does it matter where my coffee was grown?

Growing coffee requires specific natural conditions. Specific climate factors such as soil, altitude, wind, sun and rainfall affect the coffee plant’s health and ability to produce flavours. For Arabica coffee beans, the Coffee Research website suggests the following two growing conditions:

High altitudes between 1800-3600 feet with rainy and dry seasons are very well defined. Such conditions are most common in the subtropical regions, Mexico, Jamaica, the S. Paulo and Minas Gerais regions in Brazil, and Zimbabwe are examples.
The regions around the equator at altitudes of 3600-6300 feet with frequent rainfall, like Kenya, Colombia, and Ethiopia.

The optimum temperature for Arabica beans is between 15-24ÂșC all year round, however direct sunlight should be avoided. The soil should be rich, well-drained and porous, as well as nutrient-dense. However, how does that reflect the taste, and why are the same coffee arabica plants grown in different parts of the world taste different? 

At low altitudes there is more oxygen, however, the higher you go – the less oxygen you get, therefore coffee grown in higher altitudes, such as mountainous regions will have difficulty taking its energy from oxygen, and hence releasing lactic acid and complex sugars. It helps the plant grow and naturally adds richness and creaminess to the brew, as well as fruitiness and acidity in the taste, developing very complex notes. On the opposite – coffees grown in lower altitudes will have more sweetness and an earthiness to the taste. It’s more expensive to grow coffee in high altitudes, however, it’s also where the most interesting taste notes develop, as days are mildly warm, and nights get cooler – this dynamic thermal environment is helping the coffee cherries produce and lock down those flavour compounds.

5 elements that help you taste your coffee

The complexity of coffee as a beverage comes down not only to the growing conditions, region and variety of the plant but also to a few other important steps. These are processing, roasting and brewing, and all of that helps develop the end result – taste. When tasting, especially with little experience or dedication to understanding the notes behind it, it’s very important to know what to pay attention to. There are five different elements of the coffee taste – aroma, flavour, acidity, body, and aftertaste.

Aroma or the scent of coffee is what you smell after you brew a cup. It’s a key factor that helps you understand the taste, as it’s very closely linked to smell, allowing our brains to add both of these aspects and form a unified verdict. Aroma gives a good indication of where this flavour is heading – light and fresh, or heavy and nutty?
Flavour is the reason why most of us enjoy coffee so much – it’s the most obvious characteristic and helps us understand what our tongue feels – vanilla sweetness or berry sourness? Sometimes aroma and flavour of the same bean can be different, so it’s recommended to first smell and then taste the coffee. When tasting – do it with small sips, slightly opening the mouth to let some air in, as it will help you sense the notes.
Acidity is found in every coffee and means brightness and clarity of the taste, it’s the dry sensation that brings out the flavour profile of the coffee, without acidity, it would not be possible to taste much.
Body is the mouthfeel of the sip – how heavy or light it feels. When tasting, the body of coffee can be described as full, light, watery, silky, creamy, syrupy, etc. and it contributes to the whole tasting experience.
Aftertaste is an important characteristic. At the end of the sip, it’s the flavour that lingers after drinking the coffee, and it's affected by all characteristics mentioned before.

So next time before tasting your coffee, find out where it came from and how it was grown. Look at that region deeper and try to find out if it’s been grown high or low, this will give you a heads up on what to expect in the taste. Then focus on the 5 characteristics mentioned before and try to indicate each of them while tasting – takes notes as you go along and taste different coffees – the more experience you’ll get, the better you will understand your own preference.

Healthy Weight Loss During Lockdown With Noom

Lockdown has played havoc with my weight. I blame having too much time on my hands and baking too much with little self-control, You know the drill, banana bread, pizza, lemon cake, all delicious and best eaten warm from the oven.  When you have nowhere to go it's hard to keep motivated and eat healthily and days in baking easily add a few extra pounds. So last year with the thought of lockdown coming to an end (little did I know) I thought I would lose weight. 

lemon cake

To start I had to check my BMI weight and compare it to the healthy weight. Standing on the scales was a bit of a shock, I had more than a stone to lose, much more, but I thought I would go with a stone first.  Then I had to take a long hard look at why my weight had been creeping up. It was not pretty. 

Some of the reasons I overeat are varied and the lockdown has exacerbated this. In fact, an article on the BBC website said 48 per cent of people have put on weight in lockdown, and I'm not surprised! Some of the reasons I have put on weight are below, do you identify?

  • Portion control. I eat too much at one meal. Half a loaf of garlic bread can be easily polished off. 
  • Stress eating. It's so easy to overeat when I am stressed. It's almost like it's filling a void, and there have been plenty of stressful situations in lockdown.
  • Boredom and habit. I eat sometimes because I am bored and it's become a habit. Late at night is a hard time for me. It's so easy to eat my body weight in tortilla chips and salsa whilst watching my favourite shows on TV when I'm not hungry. Gogglebox has kept my spirits up as well as my weight!
  • Not drinking enough. I don't drink enough fluids, especially water. This keeps you hydrated and helps to fill you up.
  • Not eating enough healthy snacks. Instead of crisps and desserts, I need to have more healthy snacks in the house when I just need something to nibble on. 
  • Drinking alcohol. I don't drink much but even drinking a couple of glasses of wine twice a week works out to about 600-800 calories you don't need and that can easily add an inch or two if you do it on a regular basis.

So as you can see there are lots of reasons why I put weight on gradually. As I feel weight loss can be so tied up to your psychological state I knew that I had to look at a way to lose weight that addressed psychological issues, so I signed up for the Noom app. This post isn't sponsored by Noom, but I was so delighted with my weight loss, that I happily paid for a subscription which worked out to around £20 a month. There are discounts out there though, but one thing that's not clear with Noom is the lack of transparent pricing. You have to go through the questionnaire on sign-up that asks you why you want to lose weight and how much you want to lose before it comes up with a price. Once you can get past that, it's definitely worth the money. 

Noom has a psychological component as I said. Every day you get articles sent to you via the app that looks at nutrition and the science behind it. These articles are really useful and although they didn't tell me a lot I didn't know (I studied food and nutrition at A level), they reinforced my knowledge of nutrition. It also looked at the reasons why people eat too much, like boredom, stress eating and portion size. Another component of the app is the weight loss tracker so you can track your progress. The last component is the food tracker that works on calorie counting, Noom has a decent-sized database of food with calories and nutritional information and that is very useful when tracking your food and drink intake.

On the Noom app, you can set your weight loss to slow and steady, or fast (but still healthy) or somewhere in the middle. This impacts the number of calories you have to eat per day. You can also register the amount of exercise you have and this will allow you to eat more calories, which is one of the aspects of Noom I liked. Basic principles of low fat, and eating plenty of fruit and veg are important and they also look at calorie density and nutrient content and colour code this green, yellow and red. Nothing is off-limits but green foods are the best whilst you are discouraged from too many red foods. 

There is a lot of support with Noom. You have a goal specialist who can help you if you have any questions and also you are assigned a group of others like you that are losing weight too, and this group is especially supportive.  However, the best Noom groups I found are on Facebook.  There is one especially called the Unofficial Noom UK Group, that is incredibly helpful, providing help and support when you need it.

With Noom I lost a stone in about 6 weeks which is the most I have lost in recent memory, and guess what, you need to be focused but it wasn't hard!


If you want to lose weight, I highly recommend trying the Noom app. You do have to commit to the Noom programme though, tracking your calories and exercise.  I really recommend exercising to help you with your weight loss, and the more you exercise the more you can eat which is great. Exercising doesn't have to be hard work though and can be something as simple as walking which I have been doing every day. It helps that I live by the sea so I have some beautiful coastline on my doorstep. Unfortunately, my weight is creeping back on after I stopped using the app. Perhaps it's time to go back on it and look at maintaining weight loss. if you cancel the Noom subscription you can still use the app for free but don't get the psychological articles sent to you or support from your goal specialist.

Let me know, have you put weight on during lockdown, what do you think of the Noom app? Would you give it a go?

Create A Photo Book With bonusprint For Lifelong Memories

I don’t know about you but I rarely print out photos these days. In days gone by I always used to print out my photos, storing them in a photo album to look back upon the good times. Amazing holidays, special birthdays, and weddings especially. I’d take each photo selecting the best from a bunch developed on 35mm film and carefully place them in a photo album, covering them with the plastic that would stick and hold them in place. This is an advertorial.

Then smartphones happened. Smartphones of such a quality that you have a great camera in your pocket at any time. Being able to take a myriad of photos at any time meant that most of us didn't print out the photos we took as regularly as we once did. After all, many of us take hundreds of photos now every year, and a quick check on my phone shows over 15,000 photos! Have a look, you may be surprised how many you do actually take.

Mel and Marcus

Of course, the days of sending your photos off to print out have long gone. Almost as long a go as being able to go on holiday in a pandemic - I joke here but you can feel my pain I am sure!  So what I do now, after a life event is that I make a photo book online and print it out to keep to look back on. 

One such company that makes photo books are bonusprint. bonusprint is a well-known photo company that has been around in the UK since 1965 with high street stores being a feature of their company since 1979. They are a trusted brand that is proud of their quality products and a 100 per cent no quibble satisfaction guarantee. 

How To Create A Photobook

bonus print screenshot

The ordering process was straightforward and easy to use. Firstly you have a choice on how to create your photo book - you can create it yourself from scratch with complete control over it, or use the smart assistant to help you, great if you have limited time. Another option is to use a pre-designed photo book, which will also help you in the design process as you don't have to fuss around creating it. These books have themes like Classic Travel, Homemade Scrapbook, Colourful Baking and Growing Up Fast. I like the idea of making my own cookbook like this!

bonus print 2

If you decide to create the book from scratch you can either download the editor or create it online. The sizes vary from landscape, portrait or square and you have a choice of a hardcover or softcover book.

You need to create an account, which is free, then you go ahead and start making your photo book. The smart assistant sorts and organises the photos for you whilst you have lots more control with the design if you choose to organise everything yourself.


I decided to have a go making a photo book of our trip to Crete from scratch doing it all myself and found it was surprisingly easy to do. It does however help if you have a basic knowledge of photo editing packages like Paint or Photoshop.

If you are creating the whole thing yourself it helps to be super organised and have all the photos you want ready in a folder to save you time. You can save your creation as you go through so you don't have to create the photo book in one go with is useful to know. 

Once it's finished choose the colour of your cover,  the cover title, whether you want glossy pages or not and if you would like a smaller size copy as well for a charge on top of £9.99.  Then you are good to go. If you want a simple life, let the smart assistant help you with the organisation of the photos or go for the pre-designed photo book. Both of these are super ways to help save you time. 

Final Thoughts

bonusprint is a well-known photo company that allows you to order a wide range of personalised photo products, from wall art, personalised cards, photo calendars, and more. The photo books they produce are of great quality and if you are not happy with them they have a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee.  I recommend you try out the creation of your very own photo book. You know you have a load of photos you want to print out don't you?! A perfect way to organise your photos and print them out in your very own photo book. Highly recommended.

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What To Include In Your Ideal Weekday Evening Routine

Coming home from a busy day at work can sometimes feel as good as the first day of a week off. After dealing with all the stress, pressure and busy deadlines building up, five o’clock often seems like a gift sent from above. With that being said, a busy day at work normally leaves us dry of any motivation and effort to do anything that night. We get home, order food to be delivered to us and sit back and relax on the couch. Then we wake up the next morning and do it all over again!

You might not like hearing this, but this is not a great way to live life each day. As work consumes so much of our daily lives, we should use our free time wisely and fill it up doing different things. When it comes to choosing what to do with our evenings, this can be difficult. Keep reading to find out some things you can include in your ideal weekday evening routine.

An activity


Firstly, it can be very hard to switch off from work; this is especially the case if you find yourself working to tight deadlines every working day. To combat bringing the busy, stressful and anxious mindset home with you, we recommend planning an activity after work. It doesn’t matter what it is but separating your working life from your evening endeavours is a great way to go about chilling out. Many people choose to go on a lovely refreshing walk after work as walking is known to relieve stress and boost your mood. 

As well as walking, you can even opt to clean your house (within reason) or tick off some things on your personal to-do list each evening. This might be a good choice if you find it difficult to wind down and find some time for your personal goals each week. I know I have taken up colouring in a sketchbook and this helps me unwind, and my son is going to teach me how to paint next.


Do you take some time to exercise each day after work? If you find yourself working in an office and sitting at a desk for around eight hours per day, the thought of exercise might seem like a definite no. However, we should be aiming to reach our step count each day. Having a desk job is a lot of peoples’ dream or fantasy job but many forget that it can entirely limit the amount of exercise you do per day. This is why some of us opt to go for a walk at lunchtime or straight after work.

No matter what type of exercise you like doing, whether it is swimming, running, general circuit exercise or a HIIT workout, scheduling some time aside each day to exercise is a plus. You shouldn’t overlook the benefits of getting enough exercise each week! With that being said, do not push yourself to do one-hundred squats on Monday night – it isn’t worth it.

Cooking from scratch

While it is good to pick up some delicious food from our favourite takeaway on our way home from work, doing this all the time is not great for our physical and mental health. When looking to upgrade and create a lovely, ideal evening routine, you should be choosing things that will benefit both your mental and physical health in the long run. This is why I recommend preparing and cooking your meals from scratch if you have the skills and the time as there are so many benefits of doing so.

When you create your own recipes, you embed yourself in the process of winding down after work. Preparing our meals allows us to control what we eat, and we become more in tune with nutrition if we can see what we are eating. With this, you are also able to stay mindful of your overall health and use it as a stress reliever. What more could you want?

A bath

A fabulous way to entirely separate your mind from work stress and anxiety is choosing some self-care activities, like having a bath. Having a bath is a wonderful way to wind down after a busy day and let ourselves rest while relaxing our muscles. I also recommend that you choose a luxury bath product to use.  CBD bath bomb, Bath bombs containing CBD have been growing in popularity for several years as they are known to promote a state of relaxation. This is why m
any people who have muscle and joint pain entirely transform their evening routine with a bath consisting of CBD bath bombs and other natural, helpful ingredients. Check out Royal CBD for the legalities around CBD products. Don’t forget to follow your bath with a dreamy cruelty-free skincare routine.



After you have taken some time to do a fun activity, exercise, cook your evening meal and began the relaxation process with a hot bath, now is the perfect time to practice some mindfulness. There are multiple ways you can do this, so it is wholly possible to edit and tweak the options to suit you. One recommendation I have is journaling whereby you can keep a record of your emotions and thoughts of the day and set future goals. This is a fantastic way to wind down and get any of your troublesome thoughts onto paper. Going to bed with them shouldn’t even be an option!

Plan for the next day

The final thing to include in your evening routine is to create a plan or to-do list for the next day. I believe that if you head to bed with a mind full of stress and worry for the next day, then it will not be a night well-rested. You can tackle this in advance by writing down your thoughts for the next working day or week ahead and get them out of your head so you can spend the evening relaxing. To-do lists – like journaling – are a useful way to make plans and jot down your ideas. Plus, the satisfaction of ticking things off makes it worthwhile! It's also important to plan for self-care too so check out some of the best self care planners out there.

Overall, creating an ideal evening routine truly depends on the person. However, you should aim to try and release stress for the day ahead.

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How To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

When you’re in a relationship, sometimes you may notice things slowing down, bringing you both down. There’s nothing unusual about that. There are some things you can do to reignite the magic, as it were.

Below are some simple things you can do to make each other happy and get back on track, if you’re both deeply unhappy then it may be worth speaking to a relationship counsellor. 

Do Something You Both Want To Do


You both want to enjoy each other’s company so it would be good to do activities you both enjoy together. It could be something as simple as you both enjoy movies, playing games or even going hiking together. There are plenty of suggestions of hobbies to pick up.

If you don’t have any hobbies in common then consider alternating the activity. One week you what you enjoy and the other week you do what they like. Compromise is important in relationships.

Support Them

Supporting your partner with issues they have is crucial. It could be something small such as positive reinforcement or it could be something they need help with.

For example, perhaps they want to quit smoking? You may think the best way is for them to quit cold turkey but history has proven this to be difficult. So perhaps, instead, you could help them slowly quit.

One technique that can be helpful is to move to vaping instead of smoking. There are several benefits to doing this. Firstly, your partner will save more money as the price of cigarettes continues to rocket. Once you’ve bought a vape device from your local vape shop then it will last you a long time. My Cigara offers a range of flavours of e-liquid and types of vape equipment, so you can find one that suits your partner. 

The bonus of vape devices too is that you can get a variety of different e-liquids ranging from fruity flavours to more sweet dessert classics such as Vanilla Custard. There are also non-nicotine e-liquids too 
that IndeJuice offers so it’s a healthier habit and can help you get off cigarettes and nicotine. 

Trying to force your partner to quit smoking outright could be met with hostility. So if you support them slowly it will go a long way.

Listen To Each Other


It sounds simple, but listening to what each other want and say is so crucial. It’s easy to hear but it’s important to listen. This goes both ways, you want to make sure that both of you are being respected. It’s such an easy thing, to just let each other speak without being interrupted it goes a long way.

There’s plenty of advice on how to listen if you’re struggling or don’t know how to explain the concept to your significant other. No one should feel ashamed about opening up to concepts and having real conversations

Give Space When Needed


When you’re in a relationship you can quite easily get reliant on each other and sometimes it’s nice to have time to yourself. I’m not saying you need to take a break but just give each other space to breathe when you need it. Have some of your own interests and hobbies and take time out to do these.

Sometimes the hardest thing to is to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. Advice such as the above will go a long way in helping both of you move healthily into a stable relationship.

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How To Carry Out An Eco-friendly House Move

If you moving home you know how stressful it can be and one of the last things you may be thinking about is how to make it an eco-friendly move, but being eco-friendly has many advantages. Let's have a look at how to carry out an eco-friendly house move and the benefits of this.



Before you move home don't forget to declutter. Why? Well many companies charge based on the amount of possessions and the number of van trips (and thus petrol used). Rather than chucking it out, save it for going to landfill by selling secondhand via eBay, Facebook marketplace and other such sites, giving to friends and charities and local good causes like schools and playgroups. You will then be moving less possessions to your new home saving you van trips, money and CO2. Don't forget to recycle white goods too if you can no longer use them.

Donate food

When you are cleaning out the cupboards and even the fridge freezer and come across food you don't want to take with you, think about donating it. You could give any food you don't want to family and friends, the local food bank or donate it through the Oli app. With over 4.5 million tonnes of food every year going to waste and producing harmful gasses, anything is better than throwing it away and you will be doing a good deed too.

Choose packing material wisely

Packing materials often end in landfill so try and minimise this. Ask around in local community groups to see if anyone has any spare boxes for packing, consider the use of old newspapers, towels, tea towels and bed linen for packing fragile items, or buy eco-friendly packing materials like biodegradable bubble wrap. You can even rent plastic boxes if you have to that can be used again. For more packing tips check out my blog post here. 

Use eco-friendly cleaning materials

When leaving your old home and preparing the house for the new occupants, use eco-friendly cleaning materials to prevent harmful chemicals from going into the environment. Brands like Method and Ecover produce cleaning products that are effective but kind to the world.  Even household products like vinegar can be good for cleaning glass, just be careful to wash it off properly and not let it get onto metal as it can corrode. 

Check out eco-friendly moving companies

Many strides have been made in recent years and moving companies are now starting to take notice of the value of providing an eco-friendly service. The main point of these companies is that they providing vans that are electric and are charged with renewable energy. They may also use biodegradable packing materials. If a moving company makes a point of saying they are eco-friendly it's worth investigating further to find out their environmental credentials. 

Upcycle in your new home

Rather than buy new consider upcycling your furniture in your new home. You can recover or reupholster your own sofa, paint your furniture, and your new kitchen cabinets at a fraction of the cost of buying new. You also get the satisfaction of creating a new look too with minimal cost. You could also check out charity shops and other places selling second-hand homeware and Freecycle too, a site that gives items away, to save you money.

As you can see you easily can carry out an eco-friendly house move, and with a little thought, it doesn't have to be a stressful experience and can also save you money.  Click here for more tips on how to move and for house moving quotes. Let me know, have you ever thought about moving home? Did you use any of these tips?

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How To Renovate Your Home As A Full-Time Parent: Things to Remember

If you are not a parent, you may find it challenging to recognise that it is undoubtedly a full-time job. There are so many responsibilities that we need to take care of, day-in, day-out. We have these tiny versions of ourselves who rely on us; to take care of them when they are feeling unwell, to clean, feed, and soothe them. It is a surprise that we are still standing!

While that is very much the case, if you are anything like me, you would not change it for the world. Like other aspects of life, there are tougher days than others, but the brighter ones make those challenging days seem worth it.

That being the case, there are times when it can be somewhat challenging to know how to juggle the responsibilities of being a parent with another factor. In this instance, I am talking about renovating your home.

While it can appear as something which seems impossible when your little ones stick to you like glue, there are things that you can do when wanting to renovate your home while juggling any childcare responsibilities. Read on for some inspiration, fellow parents.

For Those With Growing Families

It certainly feels like wherever we look online, there is either someone we know or a celebrity announcing that they are expecting another family member in the coming months. A baby boom is certainly upon us, perhaps with all the time, we have spent in lockdown!

While this is undoubtedly an exciting time in any expectant parent’s life, it can come with added stress. None more so, than if you are part-way through home renovations when you make this revelation. This added level of stress and worry is something that should be avoided if possible but is something that is not always easy, especially when you reach the nesting stage of your pregnancy. You want to make everything perfect and to a high standard for your new family member; I understand.

Generally speaking, the higher your budget, the nicer the results of a renovation are. While a budget of a project is but one detail that is taken into consideration, if you are someone who is pregnant costs do matter as your family is growing, after all.

For those who are conducting home renovations, and who are on a larger budget, using the services of businesses like Kesseler - who provide high-quality products and services - is sure to guarantee your project is completed to the highest possible standards, and to suit your growing family and its needs. To find some inspiration for your own renovations, and to learn more about how you can accommodate your family’s requirements, check some luxury kitchens projects here.

Getting The Children Involved

Getting the children involved may seem like a rather farfetched idea, but it is something that you could do when renovating and having childcare obligations.

It should be noted here that if you are considering doing this, your children must always have an adult present and should not be using tools that they could seriously hurt themselves with. While I am confident that all parents are aware of this and would not do anything of the sort, it is still something important that needs reiterating.

Getting the children involved in both the design and renovation process is an excellent way of keeping them occupied; bored children are more likely to do other things to get your attention. Which is not what you want if and when there are tradesmen and their tools in your property.

Whether you choose to encourage your children to help with any painting that needs doing or are willing to let them knock down a sizeable piece of wall with a hammer, the choice is entirely up to you. As their parent, you are bound to know what will interest your child and what they would enjoy doing.

Not to mention, if you are incorporating our previous suggestion and this one, it is a great idea to introduce your children to the people who are renovating your home. Not only will this make them feel a little more comfortable having a stranger around, but they may even strike up a kinship with them.

Taking Time To Remain Calm

The all-important part of going through with any project is to ensure that you keep a level-head as much as you possibly can. While this can be somewhat challenging when against all odds, it is still of utmost importance if you come across any unwanted obstacles.

Children can pick up on our emotions and will likely be able to tell if you are feeling stressed or under pressure. By ensuring that you take ample time for yourself throughout the renovation processes, you can make sure that you are as calm as possible and able to handle anything that might be thrown at you (figuratively speaking, of course).

Last but not least, enjoy! While I can recognise that this is no easy feat, both with and without children, it is a hugely exciting project to be doing and symbolises the start of a new chapter in your family home!

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The Pros And Cons Of Composite Decking

Are you a homeowner who is hoping to get more use out of your back garden this year? Do you want to improve how your garden looks and functions? Are you aiming to create that perfect garden oasis that so many others seemed to have? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you may be looking at building a deck. But before you go ahead and choose the typical wooden style deck, you may want to look into the pros and cons of composite decking.

Composite decking can prove to be a much better option depending on your specific wants and needs. In fact, it can even give a cleaner, more modern look than what traditional wood is capable of. Let’s examine all the top pros and cons of composite decking so that you can make an informed choice.

Pro - Composite Decking Is Weather Resistant

When it comes to the number one pro that composite decking offers, it is easily the fact that it is weather resistant. This makes it great for back gardens that have a pool or hot tub as you don’t want to be dealing with wood rot over time. And with all that rain we get here in the UK, it won’t matter as it won’t damage the decking.

Pro - Composite Decking Is Very Low Maintenance

If you’re the type that doesn’t want to put in the maintenance that traditional wood decking requires, then composite decking will be a perfect option. It is suggested that you clean it on a regular basis, especially if debris builds up. This means sweeping it with a basic soft-bristle broom and rinsing it off with the garden hose. Spills and stains can typically be cleaned with mild soap and water and a soft brush.

Pro - Composite Decking Won't Stain

Homeowners with kids and pets will appreciate the fact that composite decking won’t stain, which is perfect for all those spills. Also, the sun won’t change its colour over time, as it will stay true.

Pro - Composite Decking Allows For Choice And Variety

Not everyone wants the same basic colours and size of boards, which is where composite decking has the upper hand once again. You can find composite decking in a wide array of colours, sizes, and styles allowing you to customise the look of your deck.

Pro - Composite Decking Doesn't Splinter

If you like to be able to enjoy your decking barefoot, the fact that composite decking doesn’t splinter will be a huge pro. You don’t have to worry about the plans chipping, splintering, or rotting.

Pro – Composite Decking Is An Eco-Friendly Choice

Those who want to make more eco-friendly choices in the home will appreciate the fact that composite decking is environmentally-friendly. What do they make composite decking out of? How is it eco-friendly? Ecoscape UK is a company that sells composite decking that is made from plastic and hardwood fibres. Of those hardwood fibres, 55% come from reclaimed materials while the other 45% is sourced from recycled polyethene. This makes it a very eco-conscious choice for homeowners.

Cons - Composite Decking Can Be Slippery Depending on Type

While composite decking is indeed water-resistant, it can sometimes be slippery when wet. This will depend largely on the type of decking planks/boards you choose.

Cons - Not All Composite Decking Is Made Equal

Then there is the fact that not all composite decking is made equal. There will still be differences in quality and durability so you want to be sure to do your research and choose wisely.

Cons - Composite Decking Will Eventually Need To Be Replaced

Although composite decking has a much longer lifespan than traditional wooden decking, that doesn’t mean it will never need replacement. In general, most experts will tell you that composite decking has a lifespan of about 20 years.

In comparison, a typical wood deck lasts 15 years, but that is provided you do all the necessary repairs and maintenance, which is much more involved, time-consuming, and labour-intensive than simply sweeping and spraying down your composite deck.

Cons – Some Don’t Like The Look Of The Composite Decking

Finally, there is the fact that even though there are many colours and styles to choose from, some still prefer the look of real wood. It comes down to a personal preference issue. Keep in mind that before you write off composite decking due to its looks, it could just be that you haven’t seen enough options and that maybe you need to look at little deeper.

If you like the idea of adding decking to the exterior of your home and assumed wood was the only option, it’s time to look at composite decking more closely. This is a highly durable, stylish, and modern option that can prove to be the best decision for your needs and expectations.

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Stuck In A Rut? Launch A New You

Mental health problems can be pretty tough sometimes. Especially at the moment as COVID still poses a pretty huge problem for the world. People have been used to find themselves in tough mental health positions but now it’s even worse as you can’t see your support network like you used to. However, there are some things you can do.  Changing how you approach life, what you say agree to and what you say no to and what you do during the day can make a huge improvement to your mental health and your general life. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Splurge For Change

Many people have that big purchase they want to buy. Something that could change their life. Maybe it’s a more powerful laptop that could help you do your work quicker, or maybe you’ve always wanted cosmetic surgery abroad to make the change you’ve always wanted. Spending a lot of money in a short period of time is never a great idea but sometimes you just owe it to yourself. Especially if you’re usually great with your money and you've done your research.  You need to enjoy life too. Sometimes it just feels like you’re doing nothing when you’re saving constantly. The expenditure can give you a kick of joy and help you power forward to the new you.

Consider Your Career

Being stuck in a career rut is something which happens to a lot of people. It’s can be a major cause of poor mental health. The problem is, it takes courage to make a change, but you could be happier if you did.  It might be that you want to set up your own business, or that you want to retrain in a completely different skill or industry. The first step is to do some research and take the time to properly think these choices through. List the pros and cons to weigh up your decision. These aren’t always easy decisions to make so don’t jump into it without proper consideration. 

Power Into A Health Kick

Sometimes launching into a new you means a new attitude and approach to your own health. Whether this means changing your diet and eating far better or deciding to finally get into that exercise routine you’ve been needing for a long time. One thing which will certainly help get you out of a rut is the ability to completely launch into a new health kick. Maybe you’re focusing on 10,000 steps a day. Perhaps you’re looking to eat more fruit or drink more water. Whatever it may be, you can power yourself into a new you. Give yourself goals that are achievable and you’ll feel great every time you power through them. Not only is it brilliant for your own mental health but it’s good for your body and your physical health too. Setting the right goals is important. Don’t make it too easy, but don’t make it too hard either you need to really hit that sweet spot.

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How The Textures In Your Bedroom Can Influence Your Mood

Colours, shapes and texture can influence the way we experience the world.

In interior design, this also translates into the way we feel in certain spaces. Just as colour can impact our emotions, texture personalises our homes and similarly affects our mood.

How We Experience Texture

We are in physical contact with the space we live or sleep in.

When we smell something good or hear specific sounds, certain emotions are evoked. It's the same when we see or touch a specific texture. They say that some people have emotions at their fingertips, and that's for a good reason.

When your finger rubs against a surface, tiny pressure sensors embedded within your fingers, called Pacinian Corpuscles, perceive the texture.

That's why a smooth, uniform surface can give us a sense of calm, while a rough, irregular, geometrical structure can evoke a dynamic rhythm.

Different textures evoke different feelings. Think of velvet, silk, steel, wood and leather. What comes to your mind when you think about these textures? Did you just imagine the way you feel when you touch each of them?

The textures play a fundamental role in interior design. That's why it is important to make an informed decision when choosing certain materials for your sleeping sanctuary. A velvet-upholstered bed will evoke a different emotion than a metal bed, for example.

Generally, soft and smooth textures evoke a pleasant emotional response, while their wild or hard counterparts cause a negative response. We even use these metaphors in our everyday lives for further proof, as we tend to describe difficult situations as rough and positive events as smooth.

Types of Textures

To understand how the textures in your home can influence your mood, we need to clarify the different types of textures.

We usually distinguish between two types of textures: visual and tactile.

Visual Texture (Optical)

As the name suggests, the visual texture is the one we experience with our eyes. Photography, drawings and paintings use visual texture. In this form, this is created by the repetition of shape and line. Another example of visual texture is terrazzo or an image in a mirror.

Tactile Texture (Physical)

This is what we can pick out even with our eyes closed. Imagine the feeling you get when you run your hand over a woolly sheepskin or walk barefoot across a soft long-pile carpet.

The Swedish-based neurodesigner, Isabelle Sjovall, who studies the relationship between neuroscience and interior design, explains there is a physiological explanation as to why we like tactile materials. Think of snuggling under a soft blanket or sleeping between quality sheets on a plush upholstered bed. This stimulates the hormone oxytocin, which makes us feel calm and peaceful.  The idea of Hygge revolves around cosiness and contentment and being surrounds by tactile materials is part of this.

How And Why To Incorporate Texture In Your Home

Working with texture contrasts is an important technique for creating a sense of depth in a room.

If you experience your bedroom as flat and heavy, it's a good idea to analyse how many different tactile surfaces work together to create the overall experience. Perhaps you need to introduce more variation.

The best ways to add texture in your bedroom is by adding some of the following elements:

  • A rug with a distinctive structure
  • An upholstered bed
  • Linen curtains with natural creases
  • A natural material centrepiece such as a wooden bed frame
  • A soft, fluffy blanket or throw
  • Woven fabric with a natural structure
  • A piece of furniture of untreated wood in which the grain is visible

Many modern homes lack personality, and you can experience a flat and harsh feeling because of the explosion of MDF furniture. If you feel that your bedroom is lifeless, the lack of texture might be one reason.

To avoid this, always try to mix several materials. Combine natural textures such as wood and rattan with metal accents or materials that are soft, shiny, ruffled, woven, pleated or rustic.

Textures and Emotions

Sometimes the things we see with our eyes or feel with our hands can remind us of things we feel in our hearts. So can a soft and fluffy blanket make you experience joy as it reminds you of the puppy you love? It certainly can!

You need to think very carefully of the textures you choose for your bedroom, as silk and smooth beddings can evoke feelings of calm and relaxation, while rough blankets can sometimes make us feel irritated.

Wooden bed frames can infuse a rustic touch that can be translated as cosy and remind us of our grandparent's warm homes.

Incorporating furniture with signs of age can signal a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, so it can make you feel more at peace in your sleeping nest.

Shiny surfaces often feel more modern, but a bedroom with too many can be interpreted as harder and colder, inducing an unease feeling that we might not know where it is coming from.

A velvet bed can make you feel safe and cosy, a throw blanket can keep you warm, while a firmer bed can make you be more alert, and it will increase your focus if you want to study or read in bed. The way you style your bed, Egyptian cotton, and satin sheets promote a sense of calm and well-being. So try to keep this in mind next time when you shop for a new bed or linen. If you want to look forward to snuggling up in bed at the end of a hard day.

Final Thoughts

Textures are not just a way to add dimension and interest to your home. They can go as far as evoking feelings of happiness and anger, of hot and cold. So next time you have a bad day, grab on to the textures that add comfort and ignite a spark of happiness! If you enjoyed this post, check out my other home posts here.

Daniela Ganea is a passionate Interior Designer and Content Writer for the Home Furnishing Industry. With a PR background, she combines her higher education with her passion for interiors by helping people with Interior Design and Styling tips for a happier home.

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Scentered Ritual Collection Aromatherapy Review

The power of scent is an amazing thing. Years ago when I was training to be a mental health nurse I studied aromatherapy, and how scented oils can make you alert, cheer you up and also calm you,  and it fascinated me. Plenty of research on the benefits of aromatherapy backs this up too. So when Scentered got in touch with me to review their aromatherapy balms I was keen to do it. This is an ad in collaboration with Scentered but as always, all opinions are my own. 

aromatherapy scents

Who are Scentered?

Scentered is a company founded by Lara Morgan who started the company to meet the needs of the eco-conscious consumer to help them mindfully transition their moods and emotions between work, travel, exercise, home and relaxation. Working in the hospitality industry Lara wanted a portable aromatherapy solution that was natural to work in harmony with the body, and so Scentered was born.

scentered set

The item I was sent was the Signature Ritual Collection. The Signature Ritual collection consists of five full-size balms that are called what they are meant to help with - Focus, De-Stress, Happy, Sleep-Well and Escape.  In a travel-sized bag, the Signature Ritual Collection is designed for you to take it with you when you are on the go, be it on your travels, or your daily work, shopping, collecting the kids from school life.


I liked the design of the travel bag and that all the scents were securely held in place, and the travel bag is eco-friendly too, being made of recycled water bottles - a genius idea!

All the balms are 100% natural and mess-free too. You apply the balm which felt light and moisturising to your pulse points like your wrists, your neck and your temples and let the effects of the natural aromatherapy wash over you.  Of course with any aromatherapy balms and oils, it's important to avoid contact with your eyes and lips and pregnant women should avoid taking them.

There are five balms in the set, so let me tell you a little about each one.

De-stress therapy balm. This balm is one to use when everything just seems too much. With a mix of chamomile, neroli and mandarin is a scent you can use when you want to feel calm and in control.

Sleep well therapy balm. This balm is made of chamomile to calm, lavender to aid sleep and a mix of other oils from geranium to ylang ylang.  What I really liked about this is that it wasn't overwhelming in fragrance, lavender can be strong in fragrance but it didn't overpower everything. I am definitely going to try this at night to aid sleep. 

Focus therapy balm. This was the first one I tried as I felt I needed the focus to do my work from home. A light smell of herbs, this balm has rosemary to increase alertness and boost memory, clary sage which relieves mental fatigue and mint which is said to stimulate mental activity. I managed to focus on my article and get it done. Whether that was down to using the balm I really don't know but I did get my work done!

Happy therapy balm. The happy therapy balm has a lovely lemony scent. This balm is made up of grapefruit that is said to lift your spirits, lemon myrtle for energy and spearmint to bring positive energy. It is a great scent and I think did make me feel a little more upbeat and that can only be a good thing with the world it is at the moment.

Escape therapy balm. The last balm is called escape to use when you want to escape the realities of everyday life. With oud, frankincense and sandalwood, this distinctive fragrance is perfect for when you need to focus on 'me time'. 

My thoughts


I wasn't quite sure what to expect with the balms but they smelled great and weren't overpowering which I was pleased about. My two personal favourites were the 'Happy' balm and the 'Sleep Well' balm. I adore the smell of grapefruit and lemon in the 'Happy' balm and the predominantly lavender fragrance in the 'Sleep Well' balm really seemed to soothe and relax me. 

My mood could really do with a boost at the moment, and in conjunction with some light exercise which destresses me, getting out in the sunshine more and watching more comedy on TV, I am going to use the 'Happy' balm to try and boost my mood and the 'Destress' balm when everything feels too much!

The power of fragrance is an amazing thing. Let me know, would you try the Scentered Ritual Collection? What effect does fragrance have on your wellbeing?


7 Eco-friendly Home Improvements That Will Make A Difference

If you are becoming more concerned about the environment and have a budget to make some changes to your home, you may be wondering which improvements to make. You may wonder what type of eco-friendly furnishings are out there, whether you should consider energy-efficient appliances, and how you can get solar panels or insulation installed.

If you are looking for some eco-friendly ideas to make changes to your home you have come to the right place. Let's have a look at eco-friendly home improvements you can make that are kind to the environment, and often to your pocket too. This is an advertorial.

1. Upcycle if you can


Before you buy anything new in your home, consider upcycling if you have the skills. For a fraction of the cost of new kitchen cupboards, you can paint them instead and also prevent the old kitchen cupboard from going to a landfill. A lick of white paint can really make a difference. If you are considering a new sofa, you could look at reupholstering instead. There are many video tutorials out there on upcycling so it's worth considering it, saving you money and saving the environment too.

2. Buy new wisely

If you are buying new, consider environmentally friendly options. Natural fibres such as sisal and seagrass are better for the environment than man-made materials such as polyester and nylon. Also opting for a carpet remnant ensures that a quality piece of natural carpet isn't sent to landfill. Try Designer Carpet for a wide range of sisal remnants.

Sustainable furniture from reclaimed, recycled or sustainably grown wood is another wise option. There are lots of eco-friendly ideas out there, so do some research.

3. Consider solar energy

Solar energy is a completely renewable energy source so it can be beneficial to have solar panels fitted to your home. It can provide electricity to your home as well as allowing you to use the energy generated to charge an electric car. It has little pollution to the environment, allowing you to reduce your carbon footprint. It can save you money too and if you produce more than you consume you can even sell it back to an energy company. It does cost to install solar panels through but there could be grants available in your area.

4. Insulation is key

There is a huge amount of energy wasted every year in people's home, so think about improving or installing insulation. Eco-friendly insulation options include cellulose insulation, ecological wood wool insulation, and environmentally cork insulation. Compare roof insulation and cavity wall insulation costs and research how much energy would be saved every year, and we all know energy saved in money saved too.

5. Repair major appliances

Washing machine

There is a mountain of electrical waste in the world, and the UN in 2019 estimated that this is over 50 million tonnes. Whilst a fraction of this is recycled the vast majority is not. So if your appliance breaks down, consider having it repaired first. Generally, this will be cheaper than a new appliance, especially white goods like a fridge freezer, dishwasher or washing machine and you won't have the fuss of having the old appliance taken away and disposed of safely as well as adding to landfill. Many old appliances like this leak toxic gases too when they go into a landfill.

6. Buy energy efficient

If you have to buy new appliances look at the energy-efficient rating. The energy-efficient rating from A to A+++ will help you choose new appliances according to how efficient they are and thus can save you money and saves wasted energy too. There are also some things you can do when running white goods like only running a tumble dryer on an eco-friendly mode or with a full load, defrosting a freezer regularly and not overfilling it whilst not running it.

7. Make the small changes

Lastly, think of the small changes that can really make a difference long term. Close your curtains when the sun goes down to keep the heat in, turn off lights when you leave a room, close internal doors to keep heat in a room, only boil the water you need and let clothes dry naturally. All these little things can save money and energy and can make a difference long term.

So here are 7 eco-friendly home improvements that will make a difference. Do you do any of these? Do you have any other suggestions on ways to make your home more eco-friendly?